"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12b-13a, ESV).
"I've never seen anything like her," my high school cross-country coach said about the star runner on our team. She was the fastest runner our school had ever seen. And the amazing (and annoying) part of it all was that her ability to run a five-minute mile seemed effortless.
But what she loved more than running was basketball. Cross-country was simply a means to her favorite sport. It kept her in shape and sharp for the next basketball season. My teammate was full of incredible potential to be one of the fastest runners in the nation, but her heart wasn't in it. Turns out you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't apply it, it lies fallow.
This is nothing new. We've watched friends, family—maybe even ourselves—hold incredible gifts, but the application of them fell flat. All this untapped potential is frustrating to watch.
From the moment we trust Jesus to take our sin away, we are given an amazing treasure: the Holy Spirit. We instantly become the residence of God, a new temple, and have full access to Him, including the power of the Resurrection inside of us. But we are often bent on a different way. We think our lives should head in a different direction from where the Spirit is leading. Or we simply do not know how to walk in the power of the Spirit to see true spiritual formation.
We need a vision. My teammate had a vision of seeing herself winning basketball games, not cross-country races. So she applied herself on the court. We need a vision of ourselves loving others as Jesus loved us, being patient with others as Jesus was patient and being kind to others as Jesus was kind.
Wouldn't you love to be more loving, patient and kind? Wouldn't you love to know and trust your Creator and fellowship with Him? Your raised hand looks amazing on you. A willing heart is the first step. The second step is to continue to invest in your relationship with God, just as you would with other relationships you want to grow.
God has placed His Spirit inside of us, but if we don't invest time with Him or train ourselves to listen and obey, then all of that potential lies flat.
We are called to work out what God is working in us. He calls us to be spiritually fit—practicing and working out the things of His kingdom as He infuses all the goodness we need to keep training.
Let's be challenged to become women who work out, who practice the fruit of the Spirit but simultaneously trust the Spirit to produce the fruit in us. This is the crux of spiritual formation.
Grace Reflection: How do you think working out your salvation is different from working for your salvation? What are you doing to become more spiritually fit?
Amy Seiffert is an author, writer and teacher. She currently is on the teaching team at Brookside Church, where she also directs community groups and team cohesion. She has also been an affiliate Cru staff member for more than 18 years. Weaving biblical wisdom through her presentations, Amy inspires, teaches and humbly invites any willing spiritual pilgrim to walk alongside her in the pursuit of truth and the knowledge of God. Amy is married to Rob, and they live in Bowling Green, Ohio, with their three kids. Her new book, Grace Looks Amazing on You, releases this week.
This article has been excerpted with permission from Grace Looks Amazing on You.
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